Pau Gasol’s Meeting with Mike D’Antoni Will Make Life with Dwight Howard Easy

Forget trade rumors and public complaints. Apparently, all it took to settle one of the most perplexing conflicts of the 2012-13 NBA season was a bit of friendly conversation over a scrumptious meal.

According to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times, that's how Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni and Pau Gasol chose to hash out their differences. D'Antoni approached his besmirched big man with the idea before the two sat down to dinner at a Manhattan Beach restaurant on December 19th.

The topic of discussion? Not just the usual "this and that." As Gasol relayed, the two attempted to come to an understanding about the player's role in the coach's system going forward:

"It was to make sure we're in the same boat. We're trying to reach the same goal. Let's communicate. Hopefully, we can meet halfway on some points." 

Per Bresnahan's sources, that meant making sure that Pau would be on the floor during crunch time and that he would get to play more minutes near to the basket, where he is most comfortable.

The discussion, said D'Antoni, wasn't so much about how much Gasol got the ball as where he got it:

"We didn't even really talk about [number of] touches because I don't believe in that. But I believe in him being involved."

It should come as some comfort to Lakers fans that Gasol and D'Antoni have such clear and open lines of communication, though such comfort will remain cold unless the conversation leads to tangible improvement. The hard work of figuring out how Pau can coexist playing with Dwight Howard still lies ahead.

However, if D'Antoni plays his cards right—by staggering minutes in the middle between Pau and Dwight and having them work the high-low when they are on the court together—he should have two happy giants.

And, in turn, a winning operation on his hands.

Both statistics and suppositi...

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